Wednesday, August 10, 2011

In Which a Chapter Begins

What an interesting way to enter the world of blogging...Less than 2 weeks ago at a "routine" mammogram, I stepped into an alternate version of that Friday. The beauty of spacetime is that, of course, every alternate version just seems like the day you're having~~it is all so seamless. I adore that about this place!

I've spent 23 years in holistic healthcare, so I did what I always do, which is to step, uninvited, to view the image on the computer screen. I want to see, after all, what everyone else will be seeing.
It is a habit that has served me well, & is why my family appreciates me being the one along at the doctor or hospital.
Immediately, I saw three bright white spots that I had never seen before on a mammogram. My inner eyebrow went up, but I didn't have an interpretation at the moment.

When the tech came back into the room and said "The doctors want just a few more images.", my inner eyebrow stayed up & my inner head began nodding slowly...Mmmm hmmm.
Nine images later, after seeking again & again to get a very specific view, she finally went away to show to radiologists who, like the Great and Powerful Oz, were behind a curtain somewhere.

A very kind doctor (who would never demand a witch's broom handle of anyone, I am sure) came back to tell me that there were "some areas of great concern."
Calcifications. Which could be "just" calcifications, but were very likely a type of cancer called DCIS.
Ductal carcinoma in situ.
As it happens, years ago, I had had a long conversation at a picnic with a radiation oncologist about DCIS. (What? That's not what *you* talk about over hot dogs??? Oh.)
I had, at the time, switched from having mammograms, to having a thermographic imaging technique called DITI. DITI shows the heat patterns of your breasts, & so can show a tumor far before you, and often before a mammogram, can pick it up.
He said yes, that's fine for tumor-based cancers, but DCIS is a pattern of calcifications, so there is no heat pattern to pick up. He said it is not just that a woman has calcifications in her breast tissue, but that DCIS has a very specific pattern.
When that pattern is seen it is very important to take action quickly. As long as the tissue can be removed while the calcium deposits are still in the milk ducts, it is completely containable.
But if it goes outside the ducts it spreads very rapidly & is an aggressive form of cancer.

I verified this with my very gentle radiologist from Oz.
My understanding was correct and he said I needed to have a biopsy with 7-10 days.
The appointment was made...

Ten days later Dr. Gentle Oz was assisting a female radiologist with my procedure.
The female radiologist was a beautiful and warm, business-like yet with a full heart.
I cannot explain why, but she seemed to have dakini-like energy to me...
Dr. Dakini answered all of my questions &, when I pointed to the bright comets flying through my left breast, saying "So, that's what you're looking for?" She said, "That's the beginning of it..."
She showed me, further back in my breast, a constellation of calcium deposits.
Like Moses looking up into the heavans...

I asked to see the biopsy instrument.
Picture the hollow part of a Bic pen with two exceedingly sharp end-points.
I had been imaging more a cocktail straw diameter. (*the clearing of an inner throat*)
I had heard, from clients who had had biopsies, all about the table onto which I climbed, positioning my left breast to hang through the hole, in between two plates which were then brought together~~
an hour-long mammogram so that Dr. Dakini could see precisely where to take the samples from.

Once I finally got my neck comfortable, I went into a delta-brainwave pattern semi-sleep for the whole experience.
She was an artist. I barely felt the lidocaine injection which acted as a local anesthesia while the four samples were taken during an hour that drifted by like a slow-moving stream.
As I heard them wrapping it up, I rose to waking state & asked to see the biopsy samples, which looked like just what they were: four squiggles of slightly bloody fatty tissue.
"Hmmm!" I said out loud with an upward inflection. Interesting.

Afterwards, she said that they had gotten perfect samples to send to pathology & that, before I left, she was scheduling my appointment with the breast surgeon.
Breast surgeon.
There was an answer to any unasked questions.
She said that the deposits were extensive, 5-6 centimeters, which is 2 1/2 inches.
Maybe three, she said, tipping her head sideways in acknowledgment of all that meant.
She said she was sending me to him for removal of the tissue.
A lumpectomy? A three inch lumpectomy??
I am large breasted, but three inches, even out of my breast, would not leave anything really "breast shaped" for me to live with...
And besides, I have never been a fan of lumpectomies.
You have to have radiation after the surgery, and I have seen women have it come back 5 years later, like a campfire that you think has been completely doused, but then arcs a flame that spreads for miles...

No.

Dr. Dakini said gently that most women chose that because the thought of losing their breast, if they didn't have to, was just too much...
I am not one of that feminine tribe.

So, my meeting with the breast surgeon will happen before the end of this week.
I am not afraid of cancer, nor of a mastectomy, and I have begun the pre-grieving for my very-probably-soon-to-be-gone left breast.
This breast that fed my son, that wears gold & blue rings~~so beautiful. I will hate to see them go...
The breast that holds the memorial tattoo for my fiancee, who died of esophogeal cancer in 2007...

If this is my path (& it most certainly seems that it is) then I will walk it with as much awareness as I can.
Every day is a fast-motion movie of a flower unfolding.
It happens only once, and in a field of flowers called an entire life, we often stop watching them bloom and bow their heads toward earth as the span is complete.
There are so many flowers. Another will always bloom, we think, no need to watch them all.
But we should.
Who knows when that strong wind will blow, and a choreography of roots will fly by our eyes.
That could be that...

These will be the chronicles, not just of this journey with cancer, but with daily presence.
I am smiling.
I am glad that you are here.


6 comments:

mrs mediocrity said...

Oh, Skye. Your writing is beautiful, and I am glad that you have chosen to chronicle your journey here, I think that it will turn into something good for you as well as for others.

You are so right, we do stop watching those flowers and we miss so much beauty that way.

I am sending you hugs and healing thoughts and light and everything else that I can think of.
xoxo

AmyMusings said...

Oh, honey. This part got me all choked up: "This breast that fed my son, that wears gold & blue rings~~so beautiful. I will hate to see them go...
The breast that holds the memorial tattoo for my fiancee, who died of esophogeal cancer in 2007... "

Now you've got my inner eyebrow raised and I'm going to follow through with that mammo I've been putting off.

Love you lots,
Aims

Amy said...

Dear Skye, I read this last night, but had no idea what to say then so I didn't leave a comment. And I still have no idea what to say, but I prayed for you last night and will continue to do so. I also want you to know that I love you very much, and I too am glad to be here, and I will be here no matter what. Sending you love.

Linda Teddlie Minton said...

Skye, I can't imagine why you are chosen to go through so much in your life ... except that you seem to be the person who is capable of withstanding it all with grace and wisdom. I would say "sending you peace and serenity", but you already seem to have that under control. I'm in awe.
Big hugs,
Linda

Frank said...

Sending Light, Love and Healing Energy.

Love,
Frank
Beautiful writing, .. very moving.

Teri said...

I could not express my feelings any better than what mrs mediocrity said...
Oh, Skye. Your writing is beautiful, and I am glad that you have chosen to chronicle your journey here, I think that it will turn into something good for you as well as for others.

You are so right, we do stop watching those flowers and we miss so much beauty that way.

I am sending you hugs and healing thoughts and light and everything else that I can think of.
xoxo

I LOVE You and am SO Grateful for your presnce in my life!! I BOW to You, Sweet Skye!<3!!